ACTION BRONSON: BEAUTIFUL SHIT FOR REAL MOTHERFUCKERS
You can learn something about Action Bronson's music by watching him make a hamburger. There are a lot of YouTube videos of the culinary-trained rapper cooking, eating, or talking about food, but my favorite one shows him in a restaurant kitchen, probably in Queens, probably after hours. There's chopped meat on the grill, full pans on the stove, chicken cutlets in the deep fryer, and a bun in the oven. He's spent years busting his ass in this environment and now enjoys taking his time, moving between stations with an unhurried cocksure grace. Bronson's palate is refined, bold, and unfussy, and he speaks with simple declarations. He says his craft is self-explanatory, making "beautiful shit" for "real motherfuckers." He also calls out bullshit when he sees it; sesame seeds on a hamburger bun will only hold you down, and aioli is just a fancy word for flavored mayo.
When it's finally time to put everything together and assemble the Bronson Burger on the make-line, you're ready for it. Layers are carefully stacked, but then there are some surprises (like, where did those grilled red onions come from?). And soon enough, Bronsolino can't keep a straight face. "Now it just gets stupid," he says, pointing to the burger's midsection, sautéed shiitake mushrooms on top of gabagool. He laughs, turns away, and dismisses his creation. "What did I just do? Get this out of my face."
Action Bronson's towering concoctions, whether they're meals or songs, only seem over-the-top once he tells you so. The best part of his music isn't necessarily what he says as much as how he says it. You can pick any Bronson song and find some of his favorite references: '80s wrestlers, '90s athletes, his hometown of Queens, New York, and yes, food, all expertly arranged and distorted. But before it gets too excessive, songs will end with coughs, shrugs, and chuckles, or on more serious notes: "A bit disturbed, confessions in a journal/I'm sickened by my thoughts, so it's tossed in the inferno." His releases all feel like endlessly imaginative yet clearly related courses in the same lavish meal, and he somehow never repeats himself. I recommend you come hungry for Action Bronson's first Seattle show. Neptune, 9 pm, $20.